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Daily hands dossier to detectives after probe into ‘home of horrors’ school

A regional daily has handed detectives a dossier of evidence after its investigation into alleged abuse at a school dubbed the “home of horrors.”

The Eastern Daily Press has revealed allegations of severe physical abuse inflicted upon pupils at the Small School at Red House, in Norfolk.

Red House, which opened in 1984 and shut in 1998, was presented as a soft option where councils would send problem children from across the UK for an alternative education involving trips abroad and a relaxed regime.

But eight former pupils have spoken out to the EDP about their time at the school, claiming they had bones broken while being restrained and were beaten up for not following the rules.

EDP horrors

They further alleged some teachers encouraging pupils to attack each other as punishment, while one of those interviewed reported sexual abuse from older pupils and another called it the “home of horrors”, inspiring the above splash on Friday.

Inspectors closed the facility in 1998 after discovering it was channelling funds to a controversial ‘cult-like’ Danish group called Tvind.

Norfolk Constabulary said it had ended a probe into sexual and physical abuse allegations dating from 1984 to 1990 at Red House last year because there was “no prospect of achieving a conviction against any suspect set against the standard required by the court”, although six of the eight pupils the Norwich-based EDP spoke to were at the school after that date and have never been interviewed by police.

Those interviewed claimed much of the physical abuse stemmed from headteacher Benny Joergensen, who was at the school from at least the late 1980s until the mid 1990s, with one ex-pupil showing the EDP a photo of Mr Joergensen, who died in 2013, hitting him on a school trip in the mid 1990s.

Tom Bristow, editor of EDP owner Archant’s investigations unit, told HTFP: “Despite previous police investigations, most of the ex-pupils we spoke to have never been interviewed before and are making new allegations about their time there. We felt it was appropriate to hand this information to police in the hope it will help take things forward.

“Some of the stories they told us were horrific but they did not know who to tell having not been believed at the time. I’d like to thank all those ex-pupils who trusted us and were happy for us to share what happened to them. On the back of all this evidence it is clearly time for police to investigate again.”

A Norfolk Constabulary spokesman told the EDP the investigation closed last year was a “significant and complex inquiry with a number of suspects living outside of the UK which caused further time delays”.

He added: “Despite extensive work on the case and an independent review of decisions taken, officers reached the decision that there was no prospect of achieving a conviction against any suspect set against the standard required by the court.

“We would encourage any former pupils who were victims of abuse or who have evidence that could assist a police investigation to contact DS Dave Rawlings.”

Former Red House staff who are still alive did not respond to the newspaper’s requests for a comment.